After Loss, field hockey able to split tournament

Coming off a 7-0 loss to Salisbury University on Friday Aug. 29 to start the season, the Geneseo field hockey team bounced back the next day to beat Union College 3-2. Freshman Emma Dempsey scored the game-winner in overtime in the 83rd minute.Head coach Jess Seren said the team needs to come together in order to continue its success. “We graduated eight seniors last year and six started, so there is a lot of growth in the area of getting used to playing with each other,” Seren said. One characteristic that could define the team this year is its youth. The Knights have just five seniors on their roster and six juniors. Seren hopes that junior forward Sarah Malinak will be able to set an example for the younger players on offense. “[I expect Malinak] to pick up where she left off last season in terms of being a big offensive threat for us and producing a lot of goals,” she said. “She’s … one of the most experienced on the front line.” Up front, Geneseo is very inexperienced. Malinak, a 2013 first team all-SUNYAC selection, is one of only two upperclassmen at the forward position. There are only three more at midfield. “We’re starting four freshman this season, so we’re…looking to [Malinak] to kind of lead the way offensively,” Seren said. Seren acknowledged that despite having such a small number of upperclassmen, the Knights have clearly defined leaders. “Senior captain Ashley Favata and junior captain Elena Hingston have done a really good job so far with their leadership on and off the field,” she said. With regards to defense, Seren still hopes that the veteran players will be able to inspire the younger girls, particularly sophomore mid back Liz Doherty and junior goalie Dayna Mercer. Geneseo is coming off of a 13-7 season in which the team finished second in the SUNYAC regular season standings. That kind of success may be tough to duplicate with such an inexperienced squad, but Seren is confident in her players’ abilities. “[I expect us] to be competitive every game and progress throughout the season,” she said. “The team needs to use [its] non-conference schedule as a chance to get ready for conference play.” Between the youth factor and the aggressive play that is expected from the front line, the Knights will be an interesting team to watch during SUNYAC play. Of course, these things could make the team prone to mistakes early on. Another high-seeded trip to the SUNYACs would make this season a success overall. Geneseo plays at Skidmore College on Saturday, Sept. 6 and at William Smith College on Sept. 10.